Saturday, 5 February 2011

The New Year starts here!

The thing I like best about New Year is starting a new diary.

When I am Rich I suppose I could have expensive diaries: beautifully bound books with my name embossed on the covers, gilt-edged pages of the finest handmade paper … 
But what’s the point? I don’t use a diary to record my daily thoughts and actions. It’s not something I want to pass on to my heirs or use as reference material if I ever write my autobiography. All I need is a plain and simple diary to help me plan what I’m going to do for the next 12 months.

I start by entering all the important dates – birthdays, anniversaries etc. – and any appointments and writing deadlines that need to be carried over from the old diary.

Next, I check the list of goals I set myself for the past year. I cross off those I achieved (hooray!) and decide whether to abandon or persevere with those I didn’t manage.

Finally, I write a new goal list in the notes section of my new diary, work out what I need to do to achieve each one, and fill in some reminders and deadlines to keep me on track. This gives me a framework to which I can add new tasks as they arise throughout the year.

It’s a good plan – except that it didn’t work out this year.

I bought my 2011 diary at the beginning of December and wrote prepare new diary on the December 30th page in my 2010 diary. This was the day after I was due to return from my Christmas break and would ensure the new diary was ready and waiting to get me off to a good start on January 1st.

What I hadn’t anticipated was coming home to find water dripping through the bedroom ceiling! Or some urgent paid work that had to be given priority. Or the muddled weeks, filled with interruptions and minor but time-consuming problems, that followed.

I didn’t get around to starting my new diary until January 30th.

But, at last, I have it: my blueprint to guide me through 2011. Except that it’s February already and the work I was optimistically hoping to get done in 12 months now has to be crammed into 11 months!

Do you keep a diary? What sort? Does it help or hinder you?